Cigar Review: A Cuban Experience – La Sombra – Rated 88

At the 2019 Premium Cigar Association, the newly formed distribution company ACE Prime hit the scene with a splash and a full portfolio of cigars to offer the market. In total there were 10 different blends showcased at their magnificent booth.

Three of the cigars showcased were from a company known as “A Cuban Experience” which is owned by:

  • The Sailor and Cigar Aficionado – Billy McCaffery
  • Cuban Legend – Luis “Luisto” Carbonell

The cigars are all handcrafted by Tabacalera Pichardo in Nicaragua, a factory that has been silently manufacturing premium cigars for major U.S. and International brands under Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s). Tabacalera Pichardo  was founded by Don Eradio Pichardo, a third generation tobacco agriculturist and native of Cuba.

It should be noted that ACE Prime does not distribute the “A Cuban Experience” cigars but did showcase them in their booth because a number of the partners in Tabacalera Pichardo, are also the founders of ACE Prime, including Don. Eradio Pichardo, Tiago Splitter, and Luciano Meirelles.

Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing a number of cigars produced by Tobacalera Pichardo, here on Stogie Press. Today we start with the La Sombra a cigar produced for a private label client – “A Cuban Experience”.

The Spanish phrase “La Sombra” translates to “The Shadow” in English. Though it has the same wrapper and binder as El Corazon, it has punched up strength and body due to the 6 different ligero fillers. The blend of La Sombra is described as:

  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder:  Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan

La Sombra is available in a single 6 x 60 vitola and comes packaged in 20-count boxes with an MSRP of $14.00/cigar.


Pre-Light Examination

The La Sombra is a shiny, coffee bean brown cigar that appears well constructed and solid in the hand. It has minimal veins, is smooth to the touch, and finished with a simple cap.

A single band adorns the cigar, which is the same across the “A Cuban Experience” core line of cigars. It has uses a white, gold, blue, and blood red motif. The name “A Cuban Experience” is printed in blue across the top with a bright red human heart centered in the middle and the company’s tag line “From the Heart” printed in blue on the bottom.

Running La Sombra across the nose, my sensors picked up a light spice aroma along the barrel and butter nut like aromas off the foot. This was an enticing start to the journey.

I reached for my double blade cutter and removed the cap with a straight cut, right across the shoulder of this large ring gauge cigar. Taking in a few cold puffs, I found the draw to be nicely restricted and offering pre-light notes of mild pepper and salty butter. It is nice to have a cigar, once in awhile, that does not overwhelm the palate with heavy pepper notes.

My triple flame torch did the trick to warm the foot to get the journey started. A journey that began with light pepper and a full volume of creamy smoke off the first puffs.


Cigar Review Notes

A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra
  • First light offered mild peppery notes
  • Full volume creamy smoke
  • Dry fruit notes quickly join the profile
  • Baked nut bread aroma with a fruit undertone
  • Salt and pepper ash develops on a wavy, medium thick, char line
  • Pepper notes shift to more of a mild spice
  • Off burn developed that required a touch up
  • Strength quickly moves up to medium
  • Ash fell in a big chunk revealing a flat and off centered burn cone
  • Cedar notes brighten the profile midway
  • Spice increases in the second third
  • Burn is off again requiring a second touch up
  • Saltiness fills in the background
  • Spice is predominant in flavor and aroma
  • Smoke is getting hot near the end of the second third
  • Strength has moved up to full entering the final third
  • Bitterness moves in at the end
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 55 minutes

Overall, I found the A Cuban Experience – La Sombra to be a decent cigar. The flavor/aroma profile was not overly complex but did offer notes of cedar, spice, fruit, and nut in the first half and then settled into predominant;y spice notes. The strength continued to increase as I smoked it, finally reaching full at the end. Construction wise is where this cigar offered some issues, as it had to be touched up twice as the burn continued to run off through the journey. The smoke also burned hot in the final third. The ash hed strong and fell only once in a big chunk. I rate this a 88.

Point Deductions: (-1) Wave in Burn; (-2) Multiple Touch-ups; (-1) Bitterness in the the final; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone; (-2) Off Burns; (-1) Might Try it Again

Bonus Point: (+1) Long Ash

A.C.E. Prime La Sombra
A Cuban Experience La Sombra


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